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Recent News on Energy and the Environment 02.01.09

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Poznan Climate Summit Ends In Acrimony

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Posted by: Karl Ramjohn

Following on the news, developments & issues associated with the UNFCCC climate change summit that ended last week in Poznan, Poland …

From Earth News, Telegraph.co.uk – December 15, 2008

A key climate change summit has ended in acrimony after the developed world failed to agree to a new tax on industry to help poorer countries survive the droughts and floods attributed to climate change.

Read Full Article: Climate summit ends in acrimony – Telegraph

The UN talks in Poznan, Poland, that cost £23 million and produced 13,000 tonnes of carbon, were supposed to make progress on cutting world emissions and helping the poor adapt to extreme weather conditions. But in the final hours of the meeting ministers from 189 different countries had failed to come to any agreement.

The sticking point was over a controversial adaptation fund that will pump billions of pounds towards helping poorer nations adapt infrastructure, build flood defences and improve agriculture. Although the world agreed to set up the fund from next year, it could not be decided where the money will come from. It had been suggested that existing carbon markets, where heavy industries pay for the right to pollute, should be further taxed to raise the funds. The system is controversial for taxing businesses already suffering the global recession and richer countries refused to commit to the idea.

The EU and Britain said no decision could be made until it is decided how the carbon markets, that have yet to be established in the US, will function or what adaptation measures are needed. But it was no secret that countries like Russia, with heavy industries, were firmly against the scheme. In dramatic scenes developing countries like India and Colombia accused the developed world of abandoning the world’s poor. By the end of negotiations exhausted delegates were forced to shelve the issue until next year.

The conference had made progress on plans to halt deforestation, which causes one fifth of the world’s emissions and agreeing to move to the next stage of talks. However there was no agreement on how to cut greenhouse gases and environment groups criticised the EU for “watering down” its own targets to cut carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. It left aid agencies frustrated at the failure of the summit and questioning the cost.

The talks, that mark the half way point between a summit in Bali last year and an agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol in Copenhagen next year, had gone on for two weeks. More than 11,000 delegates took part including “climate change superstars” like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Al Gore and Bianca Jagger. The conference, that included a gala dinner serving traditional Polish cuisine, cost more than £23 million.

Related news and articles with perspectives on the conclusion / outcomes of the Poznan conference:

Carbon News and Info > Climate change news > Kyoto & climate politics > Poznan climate talks drift to a close

Recriminations over adaptation fund overshadow Poznan close – 15 Dec 2008 – BusinessGreen

Environmentalists disappointed more was not achieved – The Irish Times – Mon, Dec 15, 2008

Next Climate Summit May Turn on Rich Nations’ Approach to Poor Ones – washingtonpost.com

The Hindu : Front Page : At climate change meet, rich-poor divide perceptible

euronews | Mixed results as UN climate summit wraps up

A Bird’s Eye View

Recent News on Energy and the Environment 12.12.08

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Recent News on Energy and the Environment 05.12.08

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Poznan Climate Change Conference, December 2008: News & Developments

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Posted by: Karl Ramjohn

UN FCCC post-Kyoto climate conference Poznan, Poland — opening press briefing by Yvo De Boer:

 

 

Further videos related to Poznan developments —> YouTube – climateconference’s Channel

 

Other news / articles related to Poznan conference:

 

Poznan Climate Conference: Latest News and Global Perspectives – SustainabilityForum.Com

 

Indigenous People Demand Voice in Poznan Climate Talks

Sustainable Energy (Video)

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Posted by: Karl Ramjohn

Sustainable Energy

This might not add much to the debate and discussion on “Sustainable Energy”, but it has a somewhat different presentation format: 

More videos on sustainable energy, climate and related: Geo Energy Network Media

Modelling civilization as “heat engine” could improve climate predictions

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Posted by: Karl Ramjohn

An interesting article from Environmental Research Web  (November 27, 2008)  on a possible conceptual approach to modelling human activities (and the built environment) and how they interact with climate systems (and the natural environment).

—>  Modelling civilization as ‘heat engine’ could improve climate predictions – environmentalresearchweb

The extremely complex process of projecting future emissions of carbon dioxide could be simplified dramatically by modelling civilization as a heat engine. That is the conclusion of an atmospheric physicist in the US, who has shown that changes in global population and standard of living correlate to variations in energy efficiency. This discovery halves the number of variables needed to make emissions forecasts and therefore should considerably improve climate predictions, he claims. 

Computer models used to predict how the Earth’s climate will change over the next century take as their input projections of future manmade emissions of carbon dioxide. These projections rely on the evolution of four variables: population; standard of living; energy productivity (or efficiency); and the “carbonization” of energy sources. When multiplied together, these tell us how much carbon dioxide will be produced at a given point in the future for a certain global population. However, the ranges of values for each of the four variables combined leads to an extremely broad spectrum of carbon dioxide-emission scenarios, which is a major source of uncertainty in climate models. 

Timothy Garrett of the University of Utah in the US believes that much of this uncertainty can be eliminated by considering humanity as if it were a heat engine (arXiv:0811.1855). Garrett’s model heat engine consists of an entity and its environment, with the two separated by a step in potential energy that enables energy to be transferred between the two. Some fraction of this transferred energy is converted into work, with the rest released beyond the environment in the form of waste heat, as required by the second law of thermodynamics.

However, the work is not done on some external task, such as moving a piston, but instead goes back to boosting the potential across the boundary separating the entity from the environment. In this way, says Garrett, the boundary “bootstraps” itself so that it can get progressively bigger and bigger, resulting in higher and higher levels of energy consumption by the entity.

…continues…